Shooting Space: Architecture in Contemporary Photography

When editing an art magazine, one can get tangled up in distinctions between photography and art – whether to identify someone at the journeyman-photographer end of the spectrum, or as an artist who uses photography in his or her work. Shooting Space, featuring recent photography of architecture and the built environment, flirts with such distinctions (architectural photographer? art photographer of architecture?) and then brushes past them, focusing instead on the broader question of what photography and architecture are getting from each other, and the still broader question of what the rest of us are getting from them. New ways of experiencing and thinking about the world is surely part of it, from the unease engendered by looking at vast housing blocks in Michael Wolf’s work to the pleasure of seeing Alex Hartley hang off the edge of a Pierre Koenig Case Study House in order to better understand its uses.

Works by 50 contemporary artists, both established and emerging, are divided into five categories – Manufacturing Iconography, Cityscapes of Change, Man-Altered Landscapes, Excavating Modernism and After Architecture – and prefaced with short texts by Elias Redstone (who is cocurating the similarly themed, though more historical Constructing Worlds exhibition, currently at the Barbican, London). Not all names, projects and locations will be familiar to everyone, but highly informative entries for each artist and longer essays by curators Kate Bush (tracing the lineage of art photography’s engagement with architecture) and Pedro Gadanho (on the history of the relationship between architect and photographer) add up to an engaging survey that flatters as it informs.

This article originally appeared in the October 2014 issue

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